Posted by Claire Wade

I’ve always enjoyed looking at other people’s street photography, the captured moments of life plus interesting expressions of random people are often intriguing. But it’s something I’ve been nervous about doing myself, due to fear of upsetting strangers resulting in my camera being wrapped around my head! This is a worse case scenario and people I know who do street photography have never had that happen, but I’m still pretty shy about it. I guess it’s down to confidence. (BTW please scroll to the bottom if you just want to see the photos!)

Toke on Trent

Toke on Trent

So when I found out about the FREE  Street Photography Workshops as organised by 116 Gallery, I had nothing to lose by trying it. My husband and I both signed up for it and were joined by another Willfield Camera club member, Chris, plus two others. The groups can be up to 15 though. I was nervous about it being in Hanley as this is my home and although I’m happy shooting abroad or in other cities, it seems weird shooting in a place where people may know me.

We started by meeting at ‘A Room with a Brew’ (31 Stafford Street, Hanley) where our two teachers/mentors Mark and Darren led a discussion about Street Photography, what we hoped to gain and any issues we may have.

We were lucky today as  Appetite Stoke had organised a bunch of street entertainers throughout the area, this not only gave us interesting characters to shoot, but also created a distraction so that everyday people didn’t notice us capturing them. It also meant that there were a lot of photographers out there, so we didn’t stand out as much as we normally might.

Street Photography Workshop

Street Photography Workshop

After initially starting out together, those who wanted to go off alone did so, with the idea that we looked less intimidating if we weren’t a large group and thus putting people off from behaving naturally. We did later meet up with Mark and Darren when we decided to stay out for longer than previously planned.

Later on, we all reconvened at ‘A Room with a Brew’ to discuss each other’s and our own photos. I’d previously thought that Street Photography is just about capturing people and this did take me out of my comfort zone. But upon looking at other’s images, I saw that some had shot graffitti and buildings, with the emphasis far less on people – I’m still glad I focussed on people though! Another thing to note was not everyone used high end cameras, feeling more comfortable shooting with a smaller bridge camera or even a phone. Not long afterwards,  a street band turned up and played at us through the window, giving us an extra performance to take more photos!

Everyone agreed that we’d had a great time and it got us out, shooting things we don’t normally, and it made us take a closer look at our home city.

There will be two more Street Photography Sessions over the next two Sundays (7th and 14th December, both in Hanley). If you are interested in joining, do book your place here: Free Street Photography Workshops. If you are unable to attend but are still interested, do keep an eye on the Gallery 116 Website as they do plan to do more workshops in Stoke and outside next year.

Ok, so now for the photos, Glyn, Chris and myself each gave ourselves a limit of 4 photos each to best describe our day:

Other members have now done the second workshop so there are pictures from that below. There is another one on Sunday 14th Dec 2014.